Bali – September and November 2017

December 5, 2017

Bali is a cliché. Most of us have done it, some of us has done it more often than we like, some of us just can’t get enough of it, some of us can’t stand it…..we’re somewhere in between.

I’m sorry, we don’t really come to Bali to surf, lay in the sun working on our tan by the pool, sip cocktails in the swim up bar nor do any of the touristy stuff. So we don’t have any recommendations on any of these activities…..except to always put on sun screen, wear a hat and plenty of mosquito repellant. What we do really like about Bali is the food scene.

A colleague once said, whatever they do, they just do it a few notches better. So true. However, I do struggle with their street food, unlike Singapore, cheap and nasty in Bali can be very nasty indeed. So let’s talk about the good stuff. Tip: I always prepare my stomach from nasties a week before by taking a strong probiotic everyday. Then when in Bali, before I eat, I will more often than not take one before each meal. I find that it has helped keep away any unfortunate consequences.

Prior to this year, we have been to Bali on numerous occasions and have eaten at favourites such as La Lucciola, Cocoon, Mama Sans, Ku De Ta, Sarong, Chandi, Metis, Potato Head, Fat Gajah, The Dining Room, Seminyak Italian Food at Double Six Hotel and I’m sure there are others I have forgotten about. Bali continues to open new places to eat all the time. Since we had two celebratory occasions a couple of months apart, we thought we would tell you about what we’ve enjoyed this time round.

In September, we stayed at The Colony Hotel. Attached to it is Urchin, a couple of doors down is Sea Circus. Urchin is the hotel’s room service for dinner. I would have loved to experience their cocktail hour and dined many courses however we only managed to fit in two main meals at room service. We had the lamb rack with pommes dauphine, glazed vegetables, beetroot, rosemary jus and the sea bass with grilled octopus, ink sauce, lemon coulis, seaweed. Both meals were lovely.

Sea circus is a lovely little casual joint which serves a range of snacks, small plates, large plates for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has a nice mix of everything from healthy options to delicious tacos and burgers. We snacked on chicken quesadillas and Jamaican chicken, which went down really well.

The Colony Hotel is an adult only boutique hotel with rooms and suites around the central pool. Adults are by no means quiet it just means there are no screaming kids at this establishment… does have an unspoken hush when you walk into this place. Whilst it can enjoy a tiny bit of repair and maintenance it was a really lovely place to stay.   We enjoyed a junior suite because the room prices were really reasonable. This gave us a large bathroom, lounge area and balcony over looking the pool. Breakfast was always lovely, served by the pool deck. The staff were really lovely too. We had an experience where we thought we had lost some Australian dollars, only to be notified by one of the cleaning staff that is was found under the bed (not that we bought it to their attention prior). And the staff member genuinely did not tell us to expect anything in return, this was so lovely. In the evenings, you could have a leisurely swim to cool off from the heat of the day and take all the time in the world hanging out on the deck over a few drinks.

After eating in Spain, we really love Spanish food, so Movida was hard to pass up. The four of us indulged so much we had food coma. We then succumbed to food coma by going across the road for an hour’s foot massage!

Next was Merah Putih. They describe themselves as “presenting an opportunity to discover a different kind of Indonesian cuisine”. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience here too.

On this occasion, it was AFL Grand Final Day and all our friends spent the day at Finns Recreational Club in Canggu. The day following a massive 40th celebration was hard to back up with drinking at 10:30am, however, like my husband says “ if you want to dance, you must pay the band”, so off we went to spend the day of our nation’s celebratory occasion. Starting at 10:30am from the night before was definitely a little too hard to grasp in anyone’s language but much to our delight, one of our friends bought to our attention the day spa at this establishment. Thank goodness, an opportunity to sleep for at least an hour! We were booked for a nice nap, awakening at half time, refreshed and ready to tackle the festivities. Such an awesome idea was enjoyed by our group of friends who took turns in this little gem of a treat.

When we returned in late November, we stayed at a villa. We hadn’t stayed in a villa in Bali for many years so thought we would try Bali Island Villas and Spa, part of the Cantik Villas group. It is located in a quieter part of central Seminyak, bordering the drive way to Potato Head and the new Katamama Hotel which houses Movida. This complex only has 10 self-contained villas but it feels like yours is the only one. We were really pleasantly surprised at how much this villa offers including your own secluded roof top terrace amongst the spaciousness of the living areas, well equipped kitchen, pool & lovely gardens, hot & cold water dispenser, 24 hour butler service, spa, free non alcoholic mini bar; all of this at an inexpensive rate too!

Did I mention spa? You can have all your spa treatments in your villa or at the spa, which is a short walk down the driveway. Again, great treatments at very little cost. To top it off, the service has been top notch, really lovely and friendly at every turn. We would definitely return any time we want a peaceful spacious place to chill and wind down.

We had heard so much about Bikini. Even strangers have told us we must try this place so try we did. We had a fabulous evening here.

On this trip, I was also extremely pleased to go back to Chandi for another bite. Each time I visit this place, I want to come back right away. They just do modern Indonesian and Asian cuisine so well.

Another place which was recommended to us by a few different people is Kilo. We were going for lunch, then decided we liked the dinner menu better. Tick, another place we would rave on about.

Unfortunately, fortunately, the Mt Agung volcano did erupt and we were forced to stay another night. So off to lunch with beach views at La Luciola. Since we were here for another day, best it spent lazily eating their delicious dishes in front of the ocean, contemplating how lucky/unlucky we were. On this day, we enjoyed a grilled artichoke salad and calamari for starters then fritto misto and crumbed pork cotoletta before going back to our villa for some serious digestion rest.

Room service from the villa was the order of the evening, their chicken marinated in sweet chilli sauce and chicken & vegetable soup was delicious, more than ample and satisfactory.

We were supposed to leave the next day, however mother nature had other plans, when we heard our flights were postponed for another two days, we took off to Sisterfields for breakfast from a change of the mee goreng we have been having each morning so far (Indonesian and western breakfast was also included at this place). Sisterfields is an Australian eatery we’ve also heard a lot about. They have an all day menu that spans from healthy breakfast, to traditional with a twist, to brunch and everything in between. Much to my delight, I was craving for meat so the dirty burger was devoured along with chilli cheese scrambled eggs with a side of smashed avocado.

After the delicious brekky, we had a bright idea to kill the rest of the day….a day trip to Ubud! By the time we left for our hour journey, it was pelting with torrential rain. Although it was hard to enjoy the beauty of Ubud when it is raining so heavily, it was still nice to take the journey to a different part of the island, seeing how the scenery changes and arriving at a beautiful part of this island.

We enjoyed a late lunch at The Sayan House. This Japanese Latin fusion place was another recommendation. On a non rainy day, you could most definitely enjoy the rolling terraces of dense greenery whilst you are perched high on the terrace deck of the restaurant. There is something very serene about being comfortable indoors whilst the rains pelts away almost beside you. We enjoyed a lunch of warm foie gras nigiri with sweet soy reduction; salmon sashimi gunkan with guacamole, onion, cucumber, japapeno, soy ginger dressing, yukari, lemon basil; Latin waygu sirloin, Japanese bbq sauce, beef potato croquette, organic salad & sautéed vegetables and Teriyaki spicy fried chicken with sambal sauce, onion, coriander, peanuts, romaine lettuce, chipotle.

Since it was raining cats and dogs, we were in no hurry to leave so we finished off our meals with a couple of cups of green tea and vanilla gelato. We dosed off on the way home.

The next day we had brunch at Saigon Street. We could not resist ordering pok pok chicken wings (sweet morsels of crunchy flavoursome chicken), a bowl of stir fried morning glory (aka kangkong), a bowl of chicken pho and a plate of stir fried thick white noodles with flamed grilled chicken. Not a bad first meal of the day.

In celebration of our last night in Bali, we went to The Plantation Grill at the Double Six Hotel for a serious piece of steak and good red wine.

On our last day, we could not resist squeezing in a couple more activities. Since not shaving his face for a week, my husband enjoyed the pampering of a cut throat shave at Seven Barber across the road from Motel Mexicola.

Then last meal before our ride to the airport we had to revisit Saigon Street again to try some of the other items we did not get to the other day. It was definitely well worth it!

You can read more about our eating experience on our Restaurant Review page.

Unfortunately great food doesn’t come cheap in Bali as it could cost you just as much as eating at some of the nicer places at home. Of course you can eat a lot cheaper than we did but we just want to try the places we have been recommended. In doing so, we didn’t see too many empty seats where we went, so a lot of people must be of the same opinion.

Suffice to say, we rolled out of Bali afraid they would ask us to pay extra baggage for the extra weight we were carrying in our bellies, but it was fun and yummy. We definitely took advantage of being stuck for the extra few days thanks to the Mt Agung’s eruption.

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